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How curiosity affects memory persistence

Freyer Martins De Melo Pereira, Duarte 2023. How curiosity affects memory persistence. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Curiosity is the intrinsic motivational driver to seek information whereby the reward is new knowledge acquisition and uncertainty reduction. With this conceptualization, curiosity has been shown to shape what memories persist. It is thought that the hippocampus and regions of the dopaminergic system are responsible for modulating this memory persistence. While curiosity-enhanced memory effects appear to be fairly stable, less is understood about the mechanisms that result in incidental, and seemingly unrelated, information persisting over time when seen during states of high curiosity. It has been found that incidental faces can benefit from curiosity enhancement when shown in anticipation of information that triggers the initial curiosity. The timing of when faces appear in this anticipation phase also seems to impact what incidental memories persist. However, little is known about whether this incidental memory effect extends to stimuli other than faces and whether sleep consolidation is involved. Based on this gap in the literature, the following experiments attempt to address these questions. Furthermore, we explore different methodological parameters and analyses to understand how and when curiosity can influence what memories persist. The experiments conducted here find that, while there is strong evidence for curiosity-enhanced memory for target information, evidence for curiosity-enhanced incidental memory is weaker. In some experiments, we find a curiosity-related incidental memory effect, in others we do not. We discuss these findings in relation to the literature, we highlight some methodological shortcomings, and make suggestions for future work on curiosity.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC)
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 9 June 2023
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2023 15:18

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